Taiwan President, Ma Yingjeou, is calling for cross-Strait frequencies to increase from 370 flights per week to at least 500 flights per week to be sufficient for the 5 million cross-Strait passenger movements p/a (Global Times, 24-Jun-2010). Mr Ma stated the development outlook for Taiwanese airlines is dependent on cross-Strait business and economic ties. Meanwhile, Mr Ma has called on the expansion of Taipei Songshan Airport to be expedited in order to compete with other airports in the region including Shanghai Hongqiao, Tokyo Haneda and Seoul Gimpo.
Cross-Strait frequencies need to be at least 500: Taiwan President
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There will undoubtedly be a superficial narrative that TransAsia struggled to recover from two tragic fatal accidents. But as at Malaysia Airlines, TransAsia's underlying problems existed before the crashes. Unlike Malaysia Airlines, TransAsia did not move fast enough to get its house in order.
Aviation in Taiwan Part 2: LCC changes at Tigerair Taiwan, V Air and TransAsia.
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The larger challenge is at TransAsia and V Air. Full service TransAsia is moving to a hybrid model, bringing it even closer to its LCC, V Air. The overlap was awkward and now will increase, creating even more redundancy. TransAsia Airways has suffered following two crashes, but even before that its regional full service strategy with widebodies was at risk. There is a challenge of scale as V Air is one-fifth the size of TransAsia, itself very small, while Tigerair Taiwan is over two fifths the size of the longer established TransAsia. In short, TransAsia and V Air need to combine on a single strategy.
There is a small window of opportunity for V Air to take advantage of the anticipated Tigerair Taiwan rebranding. A downturn in tourism from mainland China further clouds the outlook. Although not entirely unexpected given the sensitive relationship with China, the decrease is no less painful.